Soundhouse is an integral par..." /> UK National Steelband Panorama ‘Champions of Steel’ 2014 – Panyard Round Up – Real Steel Orchestra – Panpodium

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Published on August 19th, 2014 | by Robbie Joseph


UK National Steelband Panorama ‘Champions of Steel’ 2014 – Panyard Round Up – Real Steel Orchestra

The Soundhouse is an integral part of Estover Community College on the sprawling, windswept seventies estate of Estover, (tagged ‘little Siberia’) on the outskirts of Plymouth. In 1991, Phil Spurr – a Youth and Community Tutor – asked Dave Perrett, the school’s Head of Music, whether he had any ideas for a project which might stir up a bit of action. And although Dave was only half- serious when he suggested a steel band, Phil followed it up by bringing in some professionals from the field, and establishing an immediate rapport. Whether or not it was assisted by the two bottles of Barbados rum they consumed at their first meeting may never be known, but something extraordinary certainly happened which gave birth to an exceptional phenomenon.

£1,5OO bought five steel pans and some professional assistance from Bath-based Toussaint Clarke – Real Steel was born and the deluge was unleashed. Suddenly, everyone wanted to be in on the music-making action and (what was then titled the Estover Percussion Project) found the funds and the resources to back what members of both school and community wanted to do.

8 members of Estover Community College came together to form a steel band known as the Estover Steel Band. Since then, hard work and dedication have turned that small group in to a 25-strong steel ensemble now known as the much-acclaimed Real Steel.
Toussaint Clarke, tuner and arranger and Dave Perrett, director and arranger, both influenced the band through their support, enthusiasm and practically obsessive dedication, as have many other groups and individuals who are too numerous to mention here.

Real Steel is now firmly established as one of Europe’s top youth steel bands. With an intensive tour schedule embracing major festivals, venues and live events, its work attracts immense media interest. The band has been the subject of a full-length national TV documentary and has performed live on the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky News and a whole host of regional magazine programmes.

From tiny beginnings as an eight-strong outfit in 1991, Real Steel has scaled the heights of professional success, featuring as finalists in the National Festival Of Music For Youth at the South Bank, participating every year in the Notting Hill Carnival since 1994 and visiting a number of other countries including two tours of Barbados.

As a result of Real Steel’s success and enthusiasm, other steel bands have evolved in the local community including various adult, community and junior bands over the year. Real Steel has become a potent symbol of the Soundhouse’s success. Real Steel’s music is superb, dynamic, and distinctive, and presented in a devastatingly good-looking style.

Since Real Steel’s first appearance at the UK National Panorama Competition, ‘Champions of Steel’ competition in 2008 they have established themselves as a musical force to be recognized in the global steelband fraternity.  They attained runners- up position on the podium for 2008 followed by third place in 2010 and capturing the winner’s podium in 2012/2013.  This orchestra has always maintained a consistent standard at the UK Panorama competition and is coming to defend their winning title with great enthusiasm, drive and determination coupled with their musicality and execution skills. The 2014 competition is going to be a very well contested musical battle with all finalists looking forward to delivering their ten minutes of musical glory on stage.

Real Steel’s tune of choice for the 2014 competition is The Original DeFosto’s ‘Pan in the Atmosphere’. Musically arranged by Leroy Clarke they are coming strong for the threepeat. Speaking to Leroy a couple of weeks ago he stated, ‘ We are coming to participate in all the steelband competitions at this year’s carnival – Panorama, Jouvert and the On the Road with the hope that we can capture all three titles.’ Keep a close eye on Real Steel as they are a musical force to be reckoned with.

Panorama 2014 Finalists – Order of Appearance

Band Tune Arranger Composer Singer
Metronomes Steel Orchestra Carnival Tabanca Annise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed Bunji Garlin Bunji Garlin
Mangrove Steelband Big People Party Andre White Farmer Nappy Farmer Nappy
Ebony Steel Band Jump High Samuel Du Bois Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe Destra Garcia
Croydon Steel Orchestra Spankin Arddin Herbert Austin ‘Superblue’ Lyons



Austin ‘Superblue’ Lyons

Real Steel Pan in the Atmosphere Leroy Clarke  The Original Defosto  The Original DeFosto
CSI Steel Band Jump High


Justin ‘Redz’ Richardson Len ‘Boogsie Sharpe Destra Garcia

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